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Thread: Unloaded OC in the San Francisco Bay Area

  1. #1
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    Hi, guys!

    I'm researching the legalities of unloaded, open carry in the San Francisco Bay Area. This seems be legal (with some exceptions) in California, so now I'm looking at the county level. Is anyone aware of unloaded, open carry being illegal in the following counties?

    Marin County
    San Francisco County
    San Mateo County
    Alameda County
    Santa Clara County

    Then I get to look at city ordinances...

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forums! Glad to see more and more people getting interested in open carry.

    It's my understanding that state law preempts cities from enforcing gun laws. County ordinances only affect loaded carry. As long as you're not in violation of 626.9 ('Gun-Free School Zone Act') you should be OK carrying unloaded just about anywhere (incorporated or not).

    Here's a couple threads that you may find helpful:

    Open Carry Flyer - a good summary of CA laws pertaining to OC (direct link to the flyer). Much of the information comes from many hours of research by members here, which this flyer brings together into a coherant, concise flyer.

    Discussion of state preemption


    Disclaimer: None of us are lawyers, so nothing here should be construed as legal advice. However, it's great reference while you're doing your research.
    Participant in the Free State Project - "Liberty in Our Lifetime" - www.freestateproject.org
    Supporter of the CalGuns Foundation - http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/
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  3. #3
    State Pioneer ConditionThree's Avatar
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    notnowjohn wrote:
    Hi, guys!

    I'm researching the legalities of unloaded, open carry in the San Francisco Bay Area. This seems be legal (with some exceptions) in California, so now I'm looking at the county level. Is anyone aware of unloaded, open carry being illegal in the following counties?

    Marin County
    San Francisco County
    San Mateo County
    Alameda County
    Santa Clara County

    Then I get to look at city ordinances...
    There are some restrictions some restrictions discussed here... though its not a complete list.

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum12/3788.html

    Welcome to the board. We're always grateful to enlist new folks.
    New to OPEN CARRY in California? Click and read this first...

    NA MALE SUBJ ON FOOT, LS NB 3 AGO HAD A HOLSTERED HANDGUN ON HIS RIGHT HIP. WAS NOT BRANDISHING THE WEAPON, BUT RP FOUND SUSPICIOUS.
    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


    Support the 2A in California - Shop Amazon for any item and up to 15% of all purchases go back to the Calguns Foundation. Enter through either of the following links
    www.calgunsfoundation.org/amazon
    www.shop42a.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the pointers, guys. I also did a few searches on municode.com and I think I have most of my bases covered.

    I have to say I'm *shocked* that, on the books, it appears that unloaded, open carry is legal here. Shocked! I've only recently become aware of this and have spent many hours over the past few days watching the few related videos on YouTube, searching for similar discussions, and re-reading the California Department of Justice firearms laws.

    I'm going to try contacting the local sheriff's department about open carry and CCW permits and also try to see what individual officers' personal views are as well as their understanding of the related laws. If I end up learning anything or have any interesting discussions, I'll let you guys know.

    Questions for you: In a relatively urban city like San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo, or Mountain View, what do you think is the worst that could happen to someone who legally and openly carries aside from being permanently disabled, killed, or injured? Getting arrested is no big deal if you can afford the lawer and the time away from work, assuming the charges are dropped, right? What sort of charges would a DA try to press in this sort of situation?

  5. #5
    State Pioneer ConditionThree's Avatar
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    notnowjohn wrote:
    I'm going to try contacting the local sheriff's department about open carry and CCW permits and also try to see what individual officers' personal views are as well as their understanding of the related laws. If I end up learning anything or have any interesting discussions, I'll let you guys know.

    Questions for you: In a relatively urban city like San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo, or Mountain View, what do you think is the worst that could happen to someone who legally and openly carries aside from being permanently disabled, killed, or injured? Getting arrested is no big deal if you can afford the lawer and the time away from work, assuming the charges are dropped, right? What sort of charges would a DA try to press in this sort of situation?
    Contacting the Sheriff's Department or City Police will net you undesired results. There are two reoccuring themes in my experience- 1) The LEO begins asking you the questions, interrogation style- "Why would you want to do that?"-"Dont you know this isnt the wild west?" etc., and 2) they will tell you that you shouldnt do it because its illegal, that you will be arrested, that you will probably be shot, someone will take your gun from you---even when they cannot substantiate what they are saying with penal code citation or statistics. It seems they will almost say or do anything to discourage this practice, because they believe this will result in numerous calls of 'subject with a gun' they must investigate. Additionally, this increases the burden of the officers and deputies to sort out good guy v. bad guy in an environment where it is assumed that the civilian population is unarmed and relies exclusively on police protection for their self-defense needs.

    Our worst case scenario aside from being proned out or shot would be a zealous D.A. pursuing charges of brandishing (PC417) or possession of a handgun in a school zone (PC626.9) I could see other issues relating to seizure of your firearm or unlawful detainment.
    New to OPEN CARRY in California? Click and read this first...

    NA MALE SUBJ ON FOOT, LS NB 3 AGO HAD A HOLSTERED HANDGUN ON HIS RIGHT HIP. WAS NOT BRANDISHING THE WEAPON, BUT RP FOUND SUSPICIOUS.
    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


    Support the 2A in California - Shop Amazon for any item and up to 15% of all purchases go back to the Calguns Foundation. Enter through either of the following links
    www.calgunsfoundation.org/amazon
    www.shop42a.com

  6. #6
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    I would say being maimed/murdered by the LEOs would be the worst. Aside from physical injury, they can steal your gun, put you in jail, ruin you financially, etc. Even if you win in the long run, you'll have gone through so much physical, mental, and financial anguish that you probably will still feel like you lost. The courts are way to nice to government agencies, so you may never recoup even your court expenses.

    I also have to second C3's take on the expected response when you ask about OC at your local LEAs. I got lucky with city of Turlock - they actually admitted the city only enforces state gun laws. City of Modesto was very negative - city attorney told me to consult an attorney; PD told me to expect to be treated like a criminal until proven otherwise (in not so many words).

    However, it may be worth talking to them anyhow. Maybe you can turn it into an effort to educate the department. Here's an excerpt from my conversation with Sgt Smith of Modesto PD:

    In a recent FBI report on assaults on police officers the FBI found that almost 100% of the firearms used were obtained illegally. The report further states that offenders "eschew holsters" and carry concealed to avoid detection. Please refer to Force Science News for more information on the FBI report. The officers can rest assured that the "bad guys" will not be carrying their firearms openly in holsters. Thus, anyone openly carrying is probably a law-abiding citizen.
    Sgt Smith's response:

    I certainly will pass this along. Thanks so much for the information!

    Participant in the Free State Project - "Liberty in Our Lifetime" - www.freestateproject.org
    Supporter of the CalGuns Foundation - http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/
    Supporter of the Madison Society - www.madison-society.org


    Don't Tread On Me.

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